I believe that apologetics is important but not because of some book that I read or a speaker that I heard. I believe that apologetics is important from experience. Let me share a bit of my story.
I was raised as a child in the Anglican Church. My faith was very nominal. In my mid-teens I left the church and became an atheist. This was based on both a desire to party and because of intellectual doubt about the truth of Christianity. In my early-twenties, I became a theist although I was still very skeptical about the truth of Christianity. Through the combination of being witnessed to by charismatic employers, spending a night in a Mexican jail, reading the Bible and watching Billy Graham on television, I became a Christian.
I was a Christian, but I was not a strong Christian. There were many times that my faith felt like a leap in the dark. My atheistic past would call to me, suggesting that Christianity was an illusion. I needed something solid that I could build my faith on.
I was attending a Pentecostal church as a new Christian and so I looked to spiritual experiences to strengthen my faith. I had some interesting experiences but it never seemed enough. I even began attending the Toronto Blessing, but my proof of God became even more elusive. Thankfully I am stubborn and my faith continued to get stronger year by year, especially from biblical study and involvement in ministry.
I bring this up because I wish that in those early years of faith that I knew about apologetics. I had no idea that intelligent people were working through the faith. I did not know that there were well thought out responses to the hard questions. I did not know that faith didn’t have to feel like a leap into the dark.
I had to find out the hard way. My hope is that new Christians will realize that good apologetic material is available. This is why my focus for apologetics is not so much evangelism but discipleship. If you know new Christian make sure to encourage them in the faith.